59) Remembrance of God (Zikr)
This is one of the other features of the pious and it is of two kinds; remembering God in the heart and remembering Him by the tongue.
Remembering God has been frequently recommended. It is with the remembrance of God that man can somehow make up for the blessings that God has given him and express his gratitude to Him.
There are many Quranic verses about ‘Zikr’ or remembrance of God, whether by the heart or the tongue: “Therefore, remember Me, I will remember you, and be thankful to Me, and do not be ungrateful to Me.”1
Elsewhere, God says: “O you who believe! Remember Allah with much remembrance.”2
Mohammad ibn Moslem, who was a great narrator, has reported Imam Sadiq (AS) as saying: “The tasbeeh (glorification) of Lady Fatima is a frequent Zikr ordered by God Almighty.”3
Elsewhere in the Holy Quran, God says: “O you who believe! Let not your wealth, or your children divert you from the remembrance of Allah; and whoever does that, these are the losers.”4
Imam Sadiq (AS) has been reported as saying: “God revealed to Moses (AS): ‘Do not rejoice at much wealth. Do not leave My remembrance under any conditions. Surely, the abundance of wealth makes forget sins (be indifferent when committing sins), and leaving My remembrance makes the hearts hard.”5
The Messenger of Allah (SAW) has been reported as saying: “O Ali, the best deed has three features; justice on your part, helping and consoling your brother in faith in the way of God Almighty, and the remembrance of God in all conditions.”6
In another tradition, we read: “Remembering God is not to say: ‘glory be to Allah, praise be to Allah, there is no god but Allah, and Allah is the Greatest’ alone, but if a man intends to do something unlawful and he fears God Almighty at that moment and gives it up, it will be Zikr.”
Another narration of this tradition is that if a man, who intends to commit a sin, remembers God Almighty and this remembrance creates a distance between him and the sin, it is Zikr. This is the meaning of the verse: “Surely, those who guards (against evil), when a visitation from Satan afflicts them they become mindful, then lo! They see.”
In another tradition, we read that Imam Ali (AS) has said: “In every place that you remember God, He will be with you.”
Imam Ali (AS) says: “Remember Allah Almighty frequently when you go to marketplaces and when people are engaged in businesses, for it (the remembrance of God) is a ransom for sins and an increase in good deeds, and you are not recorded among the unmindful.”7
There are many traditions in this relation but to sum it up, one can say that although remembering God is necessary under all circumstances, it is more recommended in the following conditions:
1- On the marketplace, a tradition reads: “A marketplace is the field of Iblis, where he comes with his banner, sets his throne, and spreads his children.”8
2- In the warfront; Imam Ali (AS) has been reported as saying: “Whenever you face your enemy in war, speak little and remember God frequently.”9
3- When you are commanded by God or when you have been prohibited from something as narrated by Imam Sadiq (AS) 10
4- In secret and concealment
When man remembers God, his Lord too will remember him. Beyond doubt, when God remembers someone, it will entail many benefits for him. In this relation, the Messenger of Allah (SAW) has been reported as saying: “Whoever wishes to know his position with God, he should see what the position of God with him is.”11
God has said: “I am the companion of one who remembers Me.”12
Imam Baqir (AS) has been reported by Abu Hamzah ath-Thumali as saying: “As long as a believer remembers God, he is continuously in a state of prayer, whether he is standing, sitting or lying in bed, for God has said: “Those who remember Allah standing, sitting and lying on their sides...13” 14
The Messenger of Allah (SAW) has been reported by Imam Sadiq (AS) as saying: “There is no people that gather together in a meeting and do not remember Allah and do not pray Him to send His blessing on their prophet, except that that meeting shall be to them regret and woe.”15
Inadvertence or heedlessness, the opposite of remembrance, is prohibited by God in the Holy Quran, blamed in traditions and reproached by wits. In a verse, God says: “…and be not of the heedless ones.”16 In other verses, God says:
“Most surely in the variation of the night and the day, and what Allah has created in the heavens and the earth, there are signs for a people who guard (against evil). Surely those who do not hope in Our meeting and are pleased with this world’s life and are content with it, and those who are heedless of our communication; (as for) those, their abode is the fire because of what they earned.”17
Elsewhere in the Quran, we read: “…and most surely the majority of the people are heedless to Our communications.”18
Imam Sadiq (AS) has been reported as saying: “If Satan is enemy, then what is heedlessness for? And if death is true, them what is rejoicing for?”19
It is related that Jesus (AS) passed by a village whose people had been destroyed by God’s wrath. The disciples asked Jesus (a.s.) to bring one of the destroyed people to life to ask him why they had been destroyed. When Jesus (AS) brought one of them back to life and asked him the reason, the resurrected man said: “Submission to tyrants, the love of the worldly pleasures, lack of fear (of Allah), unlimited wishes, heedlessness and engagement in idle fun and amusement.”20
Sheikh Baha’ee has set an example of man’s heedlessness. He has written: “The likeness of an arrogant and heedless man is the likeness of a man who hangs himself in a well, and there is a dragon at the bottom of the well, waiting for him to fall down, with its mouth open to devour him, and there are two black and white locusts, chewing at the rope with which the man is hanging. The man, who sees a little honey intermingled with the soil at the wall of the well with bees attacking it, tries to have a share from the honey without taking heed of what is above or beneath.”
Sheikh Baha’ee further says: “The well is the world, the rope is life, the two white and black locusts are the day and the night, the honey intermingled with soil is the worldly pleasures which are intermingled with sufferings and sorrows, and the bees are the people of the world who harm the man.”
Sheikh Baha’ee then has the following supplication: “We pray God for vision and guidance and seek refuge with Him from heedlessness and going astray.”21
The Messenger of Allah (SAW) has been reported as saying: “The most heedless and unmindful people are those who do not take lesson from the changes of the world.”22
It has been narrated that the message of a cock’s crow is: “O you the heedless one! Remember God!”23
The Messenger of Allah (SAW) has been reported as saying: “When Iblis comes to you, saying: ‘how plentiful your prayer is!’ Say to him: ‘my heedlessness is more than my prayer is.”24
The pious are those who spend the night in fear and in the morning, they are delighted, and thinking of that, which they might have left out of inadvertence, and trying their best to be away from inadvertence every moment, especially in the hours they have been advised to remember God. Imam Baqir (AS) has been reported as saying: “Iblis, on whom be the curse of Allah, scatters his hosts of the night from the time when the sun sets until the sunrise. Therefore, remember God frequently during these hours, seek refuge with Him from the evils of Iblis and his hosts, and shelter your children during these hours, for they are the hours of heedlessness.”25
In supplications, we ask God not to make us from among the heedless ones. In the Supplication of the month of Rajab, we read: “O Allah (please do) lead me to the path of the well-guided ones, and grant me the determination of the hardworking ones, and do not include me with the unmindful ones who are dismissed (from Your mercy).”
One of the other features of the pious is that they are happy with the favor and mercy of Allah. Some scholars have explained the meaning of the words ‘favor’ and ‘mercy’ as love for the Ahl al-Bayt and ‘Shariah’ and some other scholars have interpreted them as religious duties and praiseworthy acts which bring about God’s favor and mercy.
41-59: One of the other features of the pious is that their minds refuse to submit to the desires of their selves if there is a bit of irrecommedability in them (desires), and even they sometimes refrain from lawful pleasures for fear of being blamed. They always think of the afterlife and the reward of Allah and wish for what lasts forever not transient worldly pleasures… They mix knowledge with forbearance, and saying with doing.
You will see his hopes simple, his shortcomings few, his heart before Allah the Mighty Lord of the heavens and the earth submissive and fearing, his soul contented, his meal little and simple, his religion sound, his desires dead, and his anger suppressed. Good alone is expected by him. Evil from him is not to be feared. Even if he is found among those who forget (Allah) he is counted among those who remember (Him), but if he is among the rememberers, he is not counted among the forgetful.”26
A pious man does not obey his ‘self’, for he knows what ‘self’ is. He knows that ‘self’ is one of the ardent enemies of man. Imam Ali (AS) has been reported as saying: “Your most hostile enemy is the ‘self’ that is between your two sides.”
When the Holy Prophet (SAW) returned from one of the battles, he hailed his army and invited them to the greater Jihad. He said: “It is the Jihad against one’s self (desires).” This is the same ‘self’ that seduces toward sin, that is sometimes called the blaming soul, the peaceful soul, the contented and satisfied soul, and sometimes the distinguished soul. Such a self has its desires and passions which make man helpless. They are the same desires that lead to the massacre of hundreds, thousands and millions of human beings. They are the same desires that make man faithless and take happiness away from him.
It is for the same reason that Imam Ali (AS) says: “The pious are those who do not obey their passions. They reflect to see whether what they do pleases God or not. If it pleases God, they will do it and if it does not please God, they will keep away from it. Their joy is in what remains for human beings, that is, what the scholars call as the enduring good deeds which include serving people, rearing good children, giving charity, performing night prayer, observing fasting, guiding people and those who are misled and keeping away from what is not perpetual, that is this world and what is therein.”
One of the other features of a pious man is that he mixes knowledge with forbearance.
It is to be noted that forbearance, together with knowledge, is worthy, because forbearance with ignorance is of no worth. Only a learned man knows which forbearance is praiseworthy.
A pious man practices what he says. In this relation, God says: “O you who believe! Why do you say that which you do not do? It is most hateful to Allah that you should say that which you do not do.”27
If a pious man claims to be a believer, he shows his faith by his organs. He knows that faith is a heart-felt acknowledgement of God, expression with the tongue and act by the organs of the body.”28 He knows that “faith is a mixture of speech and act.”29 Faith is to practice what you say. Faith is not just sayings, practice is necessary.
The Messenger of Allah (SAW) has been reported as saying: “No one commits adultery if he is a believer and no one commits theft if he is a believer.”30
Al-Halabi narrates: “I heard Imam Sadiq (AS) say: ‘It is not from the nature of a believer to tell lies, to be stingy, or indecent. He may commit one of these, but he does not keep on it.’” The Imam (AS) was asked: “May he commit adultery?” He said: “Yes, he may, for he is seduced, and he repents, but no child is born for him from that adultery.”31
From this tradition, it is inferred that a pious man should prove his piety by action. That is to say a believer not only does not tell lies, but he is truthful. He not only does not do anything wrong, but he does righteous deeds. He not only does not commit adultery, but he has a sound behavior towards his brother in faith. He not only does not commit theft, but he is benevolent and he gives charity. A pious man proves what he says by his actions. He keeps aloof from unlimited wishes, for he knows that unlimited wishes make man wretched. Imam Ali (AS) has said: “O people, what I fear most about you are two things; acting according to desires and unlimited hopes. As for acting according to desire, it prevents from truth, and as for unlimited hopes, it makes one forget the next world.”32
In the Holy Prophet’s last will to Imam Ali (AS), we read: “O Ali! There are four features indicating misfortune; dry-eyedness (not to cry out of pity), hardheartedness, unlimited wishes and the love of perpetuity.”33
It has been related that Usamah ibn Zeid purchased a slave girl for a hundred Dinars for a period of one month. Hearing this, the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “Does his act not surprise you? Surely Usamah has unlimited hopes. By the One in Whose hand the soul of Mohammad lies, I never open my eyes without thinking that God may grasp my soul before closing them, nor do I close my eyes without thinking that God may grasp my soul before opening them. I do not take any morsel of food without thinking that I may die before eating it.” Then, he said: “O children of Adam! If you are wise, count yourselves among the dead. By the One in Whose hand my soul is, what you have been promised will come and you cannot do anything about it.”34
It is related that in India there was a custom of holding a festival outside the city at the end of every century. People, young and old, took part in that festival. Heralds on behalf of the king of the Hindus would call on the persons who had witnessed the latest festival to go up a big rock and talk to people. This person sometimes happened to be a blind old man who had lost all his power, or an old woman with a shivering body. At other times, there was no person living long enough to have seen the latest century festival.
The person who went up the stone would raise his or her voice as much as he or she could and say: “I was a small child when so-and-so king ruled, so-and-so person was his vizier, so-and-so person was the judge, and so-and-so people lived here, but they are buried now and there is no sign of them.” Then, a preacher went up the stone, gave them advice, and reminded them of death. He reproached unlimited desires in a way that made people weep and return home repentant.”35
Abdullah has reported: “One day, the Messenger of Allah (SAW) drew a square with a line in the middle of it. He extended the line out of the square and drew some other small lines around it. He also drew another line outside the square. Being asked what the meaning of this drawing was, the companions said: ‘God and the prophet know it better.’ The Holy Prophet (SAW) said: ‘The middle line stands for man, the square stands for death, the small lines stand for events, calamities, and diseases which afflict man, and the line outside the square stands for desires. The square of death does not allow desires to be fulfilled.”36
The lapses of the pious are scanty, because lapses are the results of desires and passions and adherence to self (one’s fancies) and Satan. Lapses are the result of the love of the world and the forgetting of the hereafter. One, who is not attached to the world and his ultimate goal is the hereafter and paradise, has no lapses.
A pious man has a contented spirit. He is humble before God. Whatever he sees is a sign of God’s glory. He is absorbed in Allah, and hence, he feels humble in his heart.
Contentment is a feature that should not be ignored. Imam Sadiq (AS), quoting the Torah, said: “O son of Adam! Be as you wish. You shall be treated as you treat others. Whoever is content with God for his little daily food God too is pleased with his small act, and whoever is content with a little of what is lawful, his expenses are little, his business is pure, and he will be away from vices.”37
The messenger of Allah (SAW) has been reported as saying: “Piety has four pillars; the fear of God, acting according to the Quran, contentment with little possessions, and the readiness for departure.”38
Imam Ali (AS) has been reported as saying: “Whoever is content with what suffices him from the world, will be pleased with the least, and whoever is not pleased with what is sufficient for him, nothing of this world will suffice him.”39
Imam Baqir (AS) has been reported as saying: “Whoever is content with what God has given to him for sustenance will be the richest of people.”40
Man should be content with what he has for two reasons; to be pleased with God’s will and to be heedless of the world(ly pleasures). When he chooses such a state, he will be pleased with his sustenance and will know that he has to leave them behind and depart from this world. He will know that he will be reckoned for lawful things and be punished for unlawful things. Therefore, a wise man is content with little possessions.
A pious man’s meal is small and simple. He eats only to remain alive. It is the animals that eat as much as they can and it is a hypocrite who eats with seven stomachs. Imam Sadiq (AS) has reported the Holy Prophet as saying: “A believer eats as little as (the capacity of) one stomach, but a hypocrite eats as much as seven guts.”41
A pious man is aware of Imam Sadiq’s saying: “A stomach rebels against eating. Man is closer to God when his stomach is empty (with little food) and more disliked to God he is when his stomach is full.”42
A pious man knows that God hates overeating.
Imam Sadiq (AS) has also said: “There is no choice for the son of Adam but to eat to remain alive. Therefore, when you eat, devote one third of your stomach to food, another third to water and the last third to air. Do not be fat as pigs are fattened for slaughtering.”43 In the section of “piety and health”, we have elaborated the issue.
The pious are of little trouble to others and even if they trouble others their trouble is little, for they are detached from the world and have no love of worldly pleasures. They safeguard their faith. They sell the world to keep their faith safe. Their ultimate goal is to have faith and to carry out God’s commandments. Their desires are dead, for they have no desire other than God’s will. They like what God likes and refrain from what is not Godly. They suppress their anger as it was already discussed. Imam Sadiq (AS) says: “There is no one, who suppresses his anger, except that God promotes his honor in the world and the hereafter. God Almighty has said: “…and those who restrain (their) anger and pardon men; and Allah loves the doers of good (to others).”44 God will reward them for restraining their anger.”45
In a tradition, we read that one day the Messenger of Allah (SAW) was passing by a group of people who lifted heavy stones. The Holy Prophet (SAW) asked: “What are you doing?” They said: “We are testing our strength by lifting stones.” The Holy Prophet (SAW) said: “Shall I inform you of the strongest of you?” They said: “Yes, O Messenger of Allah!” He said: “The strongest of you is one whose delight, when he is pleased, does not make him commit sin and when he is angry, his anger does not make him away from truth, and when he obtains power, he does not misappropriate what does not belong to him.”46
Good alone is expected from a pious man and evil from him is not to be feared. People know that the pious remember God in all states; they seek God’s pleasure. They always try to make God and people pleased with them. They work hard not to harm anyone. They remember God even when they are among the forgetful ones and when they are among rememberers, they are not counted among the forgetful.
The Messenger of Allah (SAW) has been reported as saying: “A rememberer of God among the forgetful is like a fighter among those who escape from battlefield.”47 The pious forgive those who are unjust to them, and give to those who deprive them. They maintain relationship with those who cut off relations with them. They behave well with those who behave ill with them.”48
As for forgiveness, although we have already discussed it, we will briefly speak about it. God has spoken of it on several occasions in the Holy Quran including this verse: “…and those who restrain (their) anger and pardon men; and Allah loves the doers of good.”
In Majma’ al-Bayan, it has been related that when the above-mentioned verse was revealed to the Holy Prophet (a.s.), he asked Gabriel what the verse meant, and Gabriel said that he did not know it. So he left and when he came back, he said: “O Mohammad! God has ordered you to pardon one who has done you injustice, forgive one who has deprived you, maintain relationship with one who has cut off relations with you, and to keep away from the ignorant.”49
Harith ibn Dilhath narrated: “I heard Imam Reza (AS) say: ‘A believer is not a true believer unless he has three features; a tradition (norm) from his Lord, a tradition from his prophet and a tradition from his Imam. As for the tradition of his Lord, he should keep His secret. God Almighty has said: “The Knower of the Unseen! So he does not reveal His secret to anyone.”, except one who has been approved by His Messenger. As for the tradition of his prophet, he should treat people well. God Almighty has ordered the Holy Prophet to be moderate with people: “Keep to forgiveness and enjoin good and turn aside from the ignorant.”50
As for the tradition from his Imam, he should be patient in distress and ease. These are the truthful and the pious.”51 The same has been narrated by Imam Ali (AS) with a little difference.
The Messenger of Allah (SAW) has been reported as saying: “My Lord has advised me to nine features and I advise you to what I have been advised with; sincerity in public and in secret, justice in pleasure and anger, moderation in wealth and indigence, to forgive one who is unjust to me, to give one who deprives me, maintain relationship with one who cuts off relations with me, that silence is to be my reflection, my words to be remembrance, and that my looking is to take lessons.”52
The Messenger of Allah (SAW) has been reported by Imam Ali (AS) as saying: “Keep to nobilities of character! Surely God Almighty has sent me with them. From the nobilities of character is to forgive one who has done you wrong, give to one who has deprived you, maintain relationship with one who has cut off relations with you, and visit one who does not visit you (when being ill).”53
Indecent speech is far from a pious one. A pious man does never revile anyone and does never use any bad word, for he knows that Imam Baqir (AS) has said: “Surely God hates abusive people.”54
Whatever man says is recorded. Hence, Imam Ali (AS) has said: “There is nothing more deserving of long imprisonment than the tongue is.”55
Imam Ali (AS) has been reported as saying: “A believing servant of God is recorded to be benefactor as long as he keeps silent. But when he speaks, he is recorded as benefactor or evil-doer.”56
Imam Sajjad (AS) was asked: “Which one is better, speech or silence?”, and he said: “There are pests for both of them, but if they are safe from pests, speech is better than silence.” He was asked: “How is it O son of the Messenger of Allah?” He said: “God Almighty has not sent the prophets to keep silence; rather, He has sent them to speak out. Paradise cannot be deserved by silence, nor is the guardianship of Allah deserved by silence, nor can fire be avoided by silence. I would never compare the moon to the sun. You describe the preference of silence to speech and you do not describe the preference of speech to silence.”57
From these traditions, it is inferred that there are pests for both speech and silence. The pests of speech are idle talk, which has been reproached in narrations, and talkativeness, which is said to be a sign of defect in reason. It is said that excessive talking and excessive wealth are both fatal and lead to falsehood, like talking with evildoers, with those who are drunken, and the like, and to involve in disputations, on which there are many traditions, as well as indecent speech, revilement, accusation of innocent people, telling lies, backbiting, slandering, tale-bearing, illegal jesting, and the like.
The pests of silence are the following: the abandonment of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil, the abandonment of religious duties like prayer whose punishment shall be Fire, and the abandonment of giving witness or concealing it. In these cases, silence is unlawful and forbidden.
The speech of the pious is lenient. Hence, the Lord of the universe invites Prophet Moses (a.s.) and his brother, Haroon, who are the best examples of the pious, to be lenient in speech with the Pharaoh: “Then speak to him a gentle word; haply he may mind or fear.”58
Addressing the Holy Prophet (SAW), God says: “Thus it is due to mercy from Allah that you deal with them gently, and had you been rough, hard hearted, they would certainly have dispersed from around you.”59
It has been narrated that the Holy Prophet (SAW) was neither harsh-tempered nor did he raise his voice.
Imam Sadiq (AS) has been reported as saying: “Knowledge is the friend of a believer, forbearance his vizier, patience his commander, moderation his brother, and leniency is his father.”60
Vices are not found with the pious. Only virtues are present in them. Goodness is found in them and mischief is far away from them, for they are duteous. They believe in the unseen. They believe in what has been revealed to the Holy Prophet. They believe that God is All-seeing, and the world is the presence of God, God is Reckoner, and man finally dies and reaps what he has sown. They shall see both the hell and paradise. They observe human duties. They have enlightened hearts. They distinguish between good and evil deeds. They see the results of good and the consequences of evil. They turn to good and avoid evil.
60-66: One of the other features of a pious man is that he remains dignified during calamities, patient in distress, and thankful at ease. He does not wrong his opponents, and does not commit sin for the sake of one whom he loves. He admits truth before evidence is brought against him.61
The pious are such that they do not lose their dignity when calamities befall them. They know that great events come from the Lord and even when human deeds are involved, they have no option other than patience, endurance and peacefulness. Imam Sadiq (AS) has been reported as saying: “A believer is stronger than a mountain. A mountain is affected by an axe, but a (true) believer is not affected in his faith.”62
Imam Sadiq (AS) has also said: “Surely a believer is more resistant than the blocks of iron, for the blocks of iron are changed when put into fire, whereas a believer’s faith never changes even if he is killed and then become alive and is killed again.”63
Imam Musa ibn Ja’far (AS) has been reported as saying: “A man from the city of Qum will call people to truth. People will gather around him. They are like blocks of iron. No storm can shake them, nor are they tired of war or fear. They rely on God and the good end is for the pious.”64
Al-Halabi says: “I said to Abu Abdullah (as-Sadiq) (AS): ‘What is the best feature for a man?’ He said: ‘Dignity without fear and awe, nobility without expectation, and engagement in what is not worldly.”65
The Messenger of Allah (SAW) has been reported as saying: “The best ornament for man is tranquility with faith.”66
In a commentary on this, Ibn Abi al-Hadeed writes: “Ali ibn al-Hossain (AS) was offering prayer when a snake fell on his head. He did not move. Then the snake fell down in front of him. He did not move his feet, and the color of his face was not changed.”67
A pious man is patient in distress, for he knows what a good feature patience is. Patience has been recommended in the Holy Quran as well as in traditions. In this relation, God says: “And We will most certainly try you with somewhat of fear and hunger and loss of property and lives and fruits; and give good news to the patient, who, when a misfortune befall them, say; Surely we are Allah’s and to Him we shall surely return. Those are they on whom are blessing and mercy from their Lord, and those are the followers of the right course.”68
From this verse, it is inferred that all the sufferings can lead man to sublime positions or make atheists convert to Islam. When the atheists see such patience, firmness and steadfastness in Muslims, they will say to themselves that this faith is certainly truthful, for no wise man forbear such hardships for an absurd deed. Such a state shows both the acknowledgement of God and servitude to Him (we are Allah’s) and admission of death (to Him we shall surely return).69
The Messenger of Allah (SAW) has been reported by Imam Sadiq (AS) as saying: “There are four features that make a man an inhabitant of Paradise; one whose motto is “there is no god but Allah”, one who says: “praise be to Allah” when He gives him a blessing, one who says: “I seek forgiveness of Allah” when he commits a sin, and one who says: “surely we are Allah’s and to Him we return”, when a calamity befalls him.”70
In another verse, God says: “Verily, the patient will be paid back their reward in full without measure.”71
There are many verses on “patience”, but here, the fruits of patience are summed up:
1- Patience helps man.
2- It wins the divine love.
3- It increases God’s blessings and mercy.
4- It wins the companionship of God.
5- It leads to a good end.
6- It causes admission in Paradise.
7- It brings about double and infinite reward.
8- It is from the virtues of the prophets.
Imam Sadiq (AS) has been reported as saying: “When a believer enters the grave, the prayer (he has offered) is placed on his right side, the alms (he has given) on the left side, benevolence in front of him, and patience creeps into a corner. When the two angels enter the grave, patience will say to the prayer, alms, and benevolence: ‘take hold of your companion and protect him. If you cannot do, I will be in charge of that.’”72
Imam Sadiq (AS) has said: “We are the patient and our followers (the shia) are more patient than we are.” The narrator asked: “How is it that your followers are more patient?” The Imam (AS) said: “This is because we are patient with what we know, but our followers are patient with what they do not know.”73
In a commentary on the meaning of this tradition, Allamah Majlisi writes:
1- We foresee the misfortune that makes it easier to tolerate.
2- We know the reason and wisdom behind the misfortune and the sublime stations of them.
3- We know the end of it and the following developments like the knowledge of Prophet Joseph (a.s.) at the bottom of the well about the end of his affair, and the knowledge of the infallible Imams (a.s.) of their futures.
As we have already discussed patience, we will not speak about it anymore.
The pious are thankful during ease. Being thankful to God for His blessings is a requirement of being humane. Man is duty bound to thank his Lord in the heart and by the tongue. He should regard the inward and outward blessings, and hence prostrates himself for his Lord.
Imam Sadiq (AS) said: “When something made the Holy Prophet happy, he would say: ‘praise be to Allah for this blessing (favor)’, and when something made him sad, he would say: ‘praise be to Allah in all conditions.’”74
To say “praise be to Allah” in distress is logical, for a pious man knows that whatever comes from God Almighty is in his own interest. Therefore, he should praise God under any circumstances whether he is in a happy or a sad state. Furthermore, man does not know the wisdom behind some events. A calamity might prevent a worse disaster. For example, when a house is demolished following a flood or an earthquake, the flood-stricken or the earthquake-stricken person should be happy that he has not died. Sometimes, a tribulation entails a reward in the hereafter, or it is a ransom for sins, and this is a blessing and requires thanksgiving. If this calamity is worldly, it can be tolerated. What happens if one’s faith faces a calamity?!
How good it is for one to have a look at the way people live in the earth and to realize what blessings he enjoys that others are deprived of. He should not think solely about wealth, automobiles, positions and palaces. Rather, he should think about his health, faith, children, honesty, decent friends, good neighbors, teacher, chastity, honor, and dignity. He should see people’s blind-heartedness, deviation, misfortunes, and indigence and to compare himself with them and then to be thankful to God.
A pious man is not unjust to one whom he hates and does not do any wrong to one whom he loves. In the words of Allamah Khoo’ee: “Love and hate should not make one neglect his religious duties, for he is duteous. He controls his passions. His anger does not make him abuse others. Love, pleasure and desire do not make him commit sins. Fatima bint al-Hossain has reported the Messenger of Allah (SAW) as saying: “There are three features that make a believer’s faith perfect; when he is pleased, his pleasure does not make him commit sins, when he gets angry, his anger does not make him do injustice, and when he is in power, he does not do what is not right.”75
Imam Sadiq (AS) has been reported as saying: “Whoever controls himself when he desires something or when he fears, when he wishes for something and when he gets angry, God will protect him from fire.”76
There are several traditions to the same effects that show the importance of self-control. A pious man or a true believer controls his passions. The pious are such that love and hate will not affect their religious duties.
The state of a pious man never changes in anger, fear, or pleasure. It is an impious man whose states change, for he cannot control his ‘self. It is not easy to control one’s self. It requires a strong will. Hence, in describing the pious, it has been said: “They are like firm mountains! The dried leaves of trees cannot shake them.”
A pious man acknowledges the truth before evidence is brought against him. One of his worthy features is that he does not do any injustice to anyone. He refrains from telling lies, and does not deny anyone’s right. If he commits a mistake, he confesses it. He always follows the truth and does never keep away from announcing it.
67-77: “He does not misappropriate what is put in his custody, and does not forget what he is required to remember. He does not call others bad names. He does not cause harm to his neighbor. He does not involve in the untruth and does not give up of the truth. If he is silent, his silence does not grieve him. If he laughs, he does not raise his voice, and if he is wronged, he endures until Allah take revenge on his behalf.”77
The pious are such that when something is put in their custody, they will not misappropriate it, whether it is a divine duty or a people’s trust. Divine duties like prayer or other trusts, to which reference has been made in the Holy Quran as: “Surely We offered the trust to the heavens and the earth and the mountains, but they shrank from bearing it and were afraid of it; and man assumed it. Surely he is unjust, foolish.”78
As for prayer, God has said: “And those who are watchful of their prayers.”79
As for the divine trust, God says: “And those who are keepers of their trusts and their covenant.”80
Imam Sadiq (AS) has been reported as saying: “Fear Allah! It is incumbent upon you to give the trust back to one who has entrusted you with it. If the killer of Ameerul Mo’minin (AS) entrusts me with a trust, I will give it back to him.”81
Abu Hamzah ath-Thumali has reported Ali ibn al-Hossain (AS) as having sent the following message to his followers: “It is incumbent upon you to give back the trust (to its owner)! I swear by the One Who has sent Mohammad as a prophet, if the killer of my father entrusts me with the sword with which he killed my father, I will give it back to him.”82
The Messenger of Allah (SAW) has been reported by Imam Baqir (AS) as saying: “Do not regard the plenty of their prayer, fasting, Hajj, benevolence, and their buzzing at night, but see their truthfulness in speaking and their giving back the trusts to their owners.” 83
As for misappropriation of trust, it does not make any difference whether one does not give the trust back to its owner, does not keep the trust properly, or is slack in doing his duty.”84
The pious are those who do not forget what they are required to remember. They keep on remembering God, the Day of Judgment, paradise, hell and the lessons they have taken.
The Lord of the universe has repeatedly reminded us: “But when they neglected that with which they had been admonished, We opened for them the doors of all things, until when they rejoiced in what they were given, We seized them suddenly; then lo! They were in utter despair.”85
God has also said: “So when they neglected what they had been reminded of, We delivered those who forbade evil and We overtook those who were unjust with an evil chastisement because of the transgression they used to commit.”86
The question of remembrance and reminding is sometimes related to the Quranic verses, confirmation of God, prophethood, the Day of Judgment, or in brief, what concerns the creed and the fundamentals of the beliefs, and at other times, it is related to the reminding of the divine blessings, the creation, the prophets, the advancing of Muslim army in the warfronts with few men, the reminding of prayer, the rules of the slaughtering of animals, and in the position of judgment. Obviously, forgetfulness and oblivion is the opposite of remembrance and reminding.
The pious are also those who do not call others bad names. In this relation, the Holy Quran says: “O you who believe! Let not (one) people laugh at (another) people, perchance they may be better than they are, nor let women (laugh) at (other) women, perchance they may be better than they are, and do not find fault with your own people nor call one another by nicknames; evil is a bad name after faith, and whoever does not turn, these it is that are the unjust.”87
In a commentary written by Ali ibn Ibrahim on this verse, which was revealed about Safiyyah daughter of Huyay ibn Akhtab and wife of the Holy Prophet, we read that Aa’ishah and Hafsah reproached and vexed her by saying to her: “You are a daughter of a Jew!” Safiyyah complained to the Holy Prophet about that, and the Holy Prophet said: “Did you not answer them?” Safiyyah said: “What would I say to them, O messenger of Allah?” The Holy Prophet said to her: “Say to them: my father is Aaron, the prophet of God, my uncle is Moses, the interlocutor of Allah, and my husband is Mohammad, the Messenger of Allah. Why are you denying this of me?” Safiyyah said the same to them, and they said to her: “The Messenger of Allah has taught this to you.” Then, God revealed the above-mentioned verse.”88
The pious are those who do not cause harm to their neighbors. They consider neighbors as members of their own families. They not only do not cause any harm to them, but they consider themselves duty-bound to be useful to them. They even pray for them in the same way that Lady Fatima (a.s.) prayed for the neighbors first and then for her own family. When she was asked the reason, she would say: “The neighbor first and then the family.”
There are many traditions concerning neighbors. The Messenger of Allah (SAW) has been reported as saying: “One, who cause harm to his neighbor, God will deprive him of the paradise. His abode is hell and it is the bad abode. Whoever denies his neighbor’s rights is not from us. Gabriel advised me about neighbor to such a degree that I thought neighbor has a share in (one’s) inheritance.”89
Imam Baqir (AS) has been reported by Imam Sadiq (AS) as saying: “The Messenger of Allah (a.s.) said before a gathering of the Muhajireen, the Ansars, and the people of Medina: “Consider your neighbor as yourself; do not harm him. Respect your neighbor as you respect your mother.”90
Imam Sadiq (AS) has been reported by Zurarah as saying: “One day, Lady Fatima (a.s.) came to the Messenger of Allah (AS) complaining of some things. The Holy Prophet (a.s.) gave her a note, saying: ‘Learn what is there in it.’ The note read: ‘Whoever believes in God and the Last Day let him not cause any harm to his neighbor, and whoever believes in God and the Last Day should respect his guest, and whoever believes in God and the Last Day let him either say something good or keep silent.”91
Sometimes, showing disrespect to a neighbor is harmful even in this world. It has been related that al-Kisa’ee was living in indigence when he was busy studying and learning. He had a neighbor who kept on causing him harm, saying to him: “Stop studying! Choose a business for yourself! Studying shall not take you anywhere.” Al-Kisa’ee laughed at the words of his neighboring grocer, who one day came forward, saying ironically: ‘Is it not time for you to put all these papers in a ditch and water them, so that they may grow?’ These words were so offensive to him that they broke his heart. He said to himself: ‘One day, these papers will promote me to a position that no one can imagine.’
The grocer said: “If you ever visit this place with a carriage, order my house to be demolished.” His house was on the top of the corridor with a low ceiling from under which the learner frequented.
Soon, the emissary of the commander of Basra came to al-Kisa’ee, saying: “The commander wishes to see you.” Al-Kisa’ee said: “How can I visit the commander with these shabby clothes?” The emissary left, and after a short while, came back with fine clothes and one thousand weights of gold for him. Al-Kisa’ee was taken to the public bathhouse and then to Baghdad to be a tutor of al-Ameen and al-Ma’moon, the sons of Haroon al-Rasheed the Abbasid caliph. Two thousand Dirhams were fixed for him as a regular salary. One day, al-Kisa’ee said to Haroon al-Rashid: “I have a request from you.” Haroon said: “Say what your request is.” Al-Kisa’ee said: “I want to visit to my hometown.”
Haroon ordered all the means that al-Kisa’ee needed for his trip to be put at his disposal. He arrived in Basra gloriously and when his carriage reached that corridor, the carriage could not pass through it. He ordered to demolish that building so the carriage could pass through. All the noblemen of Basra visited him. Among them was the grocer of the old quarter, who asked after the health of al-Kisa’ee and for forgiveness. Turning to the grocer, al-Kisa’ee said: “You can see how those pieces of paper have fruited now!” The grocer became extremely ashamed.”92
The pious do not feel happy at others’ misfortunes nor do they reproach them. They know that causing any harm to the distressed ones is a sin, and breaking their hearts is forbidden. This has been highly recommended by Islam. It is said: “When you see people of tribulation, praise Allah that you have not been afflicted with that tribulation, but do not say it loudly, for it makes them sad and breaks their hearts.”93
The pious do not involve in the untruth and do not give up the truth. When they are silent, their silence does not grieve them. They are not fond of talking. They speak and keep silent when it is necessary. Only those who are accustomed to talking dislike silence, and if they do not speak, they feel that they have lost something. The pious are not such. They first think and see if it is the time to speak or to keep silent, for they are aware of the benefits of silence and of the pests of the tongue.
When the pious laugh, they do not raise their voices. In a tradition, we read: “When one laughs loudly, he should say: ‘O my Lord, do not detest me!’” In another tradition, we read: “Laughing loudly is from Satan.”94
Imam Sadiq (AS) has been reported by Imam Reza (AS) as saying: “How many a person, who laughs much vainly (in this life), that shall weep too much on the Day of Judgment, and how many a person, who weeps much for fear of his sins, that shall laugh too much in the Paradise on the Day of Judgment.”95
The pious are those who, if been wronged, endure until God takes revenge on their behalf. They themselves never decide to take revenge. They are patient with the others’ wrongdoing. They entrust that to God, for they know that the Lord of the universe is watching everything. The Holy Quran says: “Surely, your Lord is ever watchful.”96 God does not miss anything. He reckons everything.
God Almighty says: “And do not think Allah to be heedless of what the unjust do; He only respites them to a day on which the eyes shall be fixed open (of terror).”97
The Messenger of Allah (SAW) has been reported as saying: “Avoid injustice, for injustice near Allah is darkness on the Day of Judgment.”98
God Almighty has said: “My wrath is intense on one who oppresses another one who has no help save Me.”99
Imam Ali (AS) has been reported as saying: “The worst supply for the Day of Resurrection is the oppression against people.”100
Imam Sadiq (AS) has been reported as saying: “Whoever does an injustice to anyone, God Almighty will raise one who will do the same to him, to his children and his descendants.” 101
Imam Baqir (AS) has been reported as saying: “When the death of Ali ibn al-Hossain (a.s.) approached, he drew me to his chest, saying: ‘O my son! I advise you to what my father advised and the father of my father advised: ‘O my son! Keep away from doing any injustice to one who has no helper save God.”102
It goes without saying that sometimes an oppressor may turn to be oppressed and the oppressed one may turn to be oppressor, when the oppressed one curses the oppressor excessively. Therefore, the pious entrust everything to God and do not act personally. It is to be noted that their inaction does not mean that they are indifferent to oppression and oppressors, but it means that they are not hasty in taking revenge.
Nevertheless, when it is necessary, the pious will rise up against atheism, hypocrisy, and oppression and will fight them as seen by the infallible Imams (AS).
78-86 One of the other features of a pious man is that: “His own soul is in distress, while people are at peace from him. He puts himself in hardship for the sake of his next life, and makes people feel safe from him. His keeping away from others is by way of asceticism and honesty, and his nearness to those, whom he is near to, is by way of leniency and mercifulness. His keeping away from people is not because of vanity or feeling of greatness, nor his nearness because of deceit and cheating.”103
The pious always wish hardship for themselves and ease for others. They put themselves in hardship for the hereafter through offering prayers and fasting as it is the state of the Godly people.
Their keeping away from people is not because of arrogance, self-conceit, and vanity, but because of asceticism and purification. They know that the more they keep away from people, the less they will be engaged in backbiting, lying, slander, and tale-bearing. Hence, they will have faith that is safe. Hence, there are many traditions on seclusion which does not mean that one should keep away from society and social affairs. Seclusion is good when people feel that if they are involved too much in society, their faith will be harmed, their beliefs will become loose, their thoughts will be deviated, and their piety will be harmed. This issue has been proved by experience.
For this reason, Imam Sadiq (AS) has been reported as saying: “Do not come out of your house if you can, for if you come out, it is incumbent upon you not to backbite, not to lie, not to envy, not to be hypocrite and not to flatter others. A Muslim’s hermitage is his house. He keeps his soul, eyes, tongue, and honor therein.”104
Rabee’ ibn Khaytham narrated: “If you can afford to be in a position when you do not know and are not known, do so, for in seclusion lies the safeguarding of the organs, peace of mind, sound living, breaking of Satan’s weapon, and remoteness from every evil. There is no prophet or successor of a prophet except that he chose seclusion in his own time, either in the beginning or at the end of his life.”105
Rawandi, in his book Da’awat, has reported Imam Baqir (AS) as saying: “Some man found a page of a book and brought it to the Messenger of Allah (SAW) who called the public to attend a gathering. All the people, men and women, came to his presence. The Holy Prophet went up the pulpit and said: ‘This is from Yusha’ ibn Noon, the successor of Prophet Moses (AS). The page read: “In the name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful. Surely, your Lord is Kind and Merciful to you. Be aware that the best servant of Allah is the pious, pure, unknown one, and the worst one of Allah’s servants is one at whom fingers are pointed (because of his sins and vices).””106
From this quotation, it is inferred that the best of the servants of God is one who is purified from the filth of sin, and the worst is the one who is famous for vices. He is infamous for sins which are committed more by going out of his house than by seclusion.
The nearness of the pious to those, whom they are near to, is not because of deceit as hypocrites do. Their nearness is because of leniency and mercifulness as it has been said about the Holy Prophet of Islam and the believers: “Mohammad is the Apostle of Allah, and those with him are firm of heart against the unbelievers, compassionate among themselves.”107
In relation to hypocrites, God says: “And when they meet those who believe, they say: We believe, and when they are alone with their devils, they say: Surely we are with you, we are only mocking.”108
The nearness of the pious to people is not as such. When they meet the believers, it is by way of sincerity. They consider visiting each other as visiting God, and the respect to the believers as respect to the Lord, for “the believer is higher than an archangel to God.”109
Therefore, there is no deceit in the believers’ meeting and visiting one another, whereas the hypocrites are not only deceitful by nature to the believers, but they are unfaithful to themselves too.
It is related that Hammam fell into deep swoon, and because of that swoon, he left to the better world. Then, Ameerul Mo’minin said: “By Allah, I had this fear about him.” Then he added: “Serious exhortations do so to their people (who receive them willingly).” Some man (called who was present (Abdullah ibn al-Kawwa’ who was a Kharijite) said: “What about you, Ameerol Mo'minin!” The Imam (AS) replied: “Woe to you! For every death, there is a fixed term which cannot be exceeded, and a cause which is not passed to another. Now look, never do (say) such thing again! It is but Satan that puffed on your tongue.”110
The pure hearts of believers are ready for such things that when they see or hear the truth, they fear and they spiritually changed. In this relation, the Holy Quran says: “Those only are believers whose hearts become full of fear when Allah is mentioned, and when its communications are recited to them, they increase in faith, and in their Lord do they trust.”111
If the believers are very receptive, they fall in deep swoon and their souls leave their bodies in the same way that Hammam passed away. Imam Ali (AS) said: “I avoided the reply. By Allah, I had this fear about him.” Then he said: “Serious exhortations affects their people (who respond to them).”
It is worth mentioning that if one wants to become perfect, he must seek advice of loyal people. He should take care as to from whom he should seek advice and to whom he should devote his heart and mind. He should note that there is nothing above the word of wisdom which assists his guidance and saves him from vices, as reported from the Messenger of Allah (SAW) in the book Ershad al-Ghuloob.112
The Holy Prophet (SAW) has been reported as saying: “What an excellent gift the gift of advice is.”113
It is worth mentioning that an advice is effective (like the one given to Hammam) which is given by one who practices what he preaches of and believes in what he says. If a scholar does not practice what he preaches of, his advice slips away from the hearts as the drops of rain slip from a stone.”114
Imam Ali (AS) has said: “The slip of a scholar is like shipwrecking; it (the ship) sinks and makes others drown.”115
God reproaches such individuals by saying: “…why do you say that which you do not do? It is most hateful to Allah that you say that which you do not do.”116
A preacher and advisor should be like pathologists. Imam Ali (AS) first avoided the reply, for he knew that Hammam had no capacity of hearing the exhortation, and especially from Ameerul Mo’minin. Hence, the so-called spiritual physicians discover people’s capacities and weaknesses, so that their sermon may be to the point and in conformity with the capacity of the listener. For this reason, it is said, “The best of speech is that which is short with full meaning.”
The listeners to exhortations too have to observe certain duties. First, they should aim to win God’s pleasure, pay attention to the content and gist of the exhortation, and not to the preacher himself. There are many preachers who do not act to their duties, but their advices are useful. Advice seekers should have a hunger for advice and feel in need of it. They should consider themselves as those who are in search of light and guidance. They should remember what God said to Prophet Moses (AS): “Learn the good and teach it to one who does not know it, for I will enlighten the graves of learners and teachers of good so that they will not fear their abodes.”117
Abdullah ibn al-Kawwa, who challenged Imam Ali (AS), said: “O Ameerul Mo’minin, how is it that you do not receive such an effect? (meaning: you are the cause of Hammam’s death.” The Imam softy said: “Woe to you! For death, there is a fixed hour which cannot be exceeded.” It means that Hammam’s life had come to an end. But as the cause of death is a certain factor, the cause of death here is the good advice, and were it not for the advice, his death would not have happened. Therefore, his death was not in my hand. Never repeat such talk which Satan has put on your tongue.”
Here, two main issues have to be discussed; death and Satan’s temptations.
As for death (the hour of death), there are several verses in the Holy Quran which indicate that death cannot be deferred or advanced: “…when their term comes, they shall neither defer it for an hour, nor shall they advanced it.”118
God has fixed man’s death in such a way that no one can delay or advance it.
The way death overtakes human beings is quite different. Sometimes a scholar is engaged in teaching, a preacher is giving an advice, a driver is driving to a certain destination, or a shopkeeper is receiving money from a buyer when death overtakes them.
The Lord of the universe has fixed death for every being. The Only Being Whom death cannot overtake is God Almighty. The Holy Quran says: “Everyone on it must pass away, and there remains but the Face of your Lord of Might and Glory.”119
As for the second issue, Satan’s temptation is of great importance. Satan is of the jinn kind and has a great power which penetrates the human mind and heart. According to tradition, Satan enters the blood circulation launching his evil plans. There are only few verses in the Holy Quran in which Allah does not warn human beings against Satan. If we read the Holy Quran carefully, we will realize what a parasite of corruption Satan is and how he can destroy our faith.
God Almighty says: “Did I not charge you, O children of Adam, that you should not serve Satan? Surely, he is your open enemy, and that you should serve Me; this is the right way. And certainly he led astray numerous people from among you. What! Could you not then understand?”120
God also says: “… do not follow the footsteps of Satan; surely he is your open enemy. He only enjoins you evil and indecency, and that you may speak against Allah what you do not know.”121
In another verse, we read that Satan says: “Most certainly I will take of Thy servants an appointed portion; and most certainly I will lead them astray and excite in them vain desires, and bid them so that they shall slit the ears of the cattle, and most certainly I will bid them so that they shall alter Allah’s creation; and whoever takes Satan for a guardian rather than Allah, he indeed shall suffer a manifest loss. He gives them promises and excites vain desires in them; and Satan does not promise but to deceive. These are they whose abode is hell, and they shall not find any refuge from it.”122
In another verse, after God warns man of intoxicants, games of chance and idolatry, says: “Satan only desires to cause enmity and hatred to spring in your midst by means of intoxicants, games of chance, and to keep you off from the remembrance of Allah and from prayer. Will you then desist?”123
When God takes Satan to account, and Satan argues that he is better than man, God expels him from paradise. Satan asks for a respite until the Day of Judgment, and God says: “Surely you are of the respited ones.”124
Satan says: “As Thou hast caused me to remain disappointed, I will certainly lie in wait for them in They straight path. Then, I will certainly come to them from before them and from behind them, and from their right-hand and from their left-hand side; and Thou shall not find most of them thankful.”125
In another verse, God says: “O children of Adam! Let not the Satan cause you to fall into affliction as he expelled your parents from the garden, pulling off from them both their clothing that he might show them their evil inclinations, he surely sees you, he as well as his host, from whence you cannot see them; surely We have made devils to be the guardians of those who do not believe.”126
Addressing God, Satan says: “Then by Thy Might, I will surely make them live an evil life, all, except Thy servants from among them, the purified ones.”127 God says: “The truth then is and the truth do I speak: that I will most certainly fill hell with you and with those among them who follow you all.”128
These were some of the Quranic verses about Satan. As for traditions, Imam Sadiq (AS) has been reported as saying: “There is no heart except that there are two ears in it. On one, there is an angel who guides, and on the other there is a devil who whispers. Satan orders him to commit sin, and the angel deters him from sin, and this is the words of God Almighty: “He utters not a word, but there is by him a watcher at hand.”129
Imam Ali (AS) has been reported as saying: “For Iblis, there are kohl, safoof (medicinal powder), and la’ooq (something licked as a sweetmeat or a cure). As for his kohl, it is (man’s) sleeping, his safoof is (man’s) anger, and his la’ooq is (man’s) telling lies.”130
In a sermon called al-Qasi’ah, in disparagement of Satan, Imam Ali (AS) says: “Take a lesson from what Allah did with Satan. His long deeds and greet efforts went to nothing, after he had been worshiping Allah for six thousand years, and it is not known whether they are from the years of this life or the years of the afterlife, because of haughtiness of a moment. Therefore, you should fear, lest Satan infects you with his disease, or leads you astray through his call, or marches on you with his horsemen and footmen, because, (I swear) by my life, he has prepared for you the arrow of (vain) promise, stretched the bow strongly, and aimed at you from a nearby position, and he (Satan) said: “My Lord! Because Thou hast sent me astray, I verily shall adorn the path of error for them in the earth, and shall mislead them all.”131
It is noteworthy that Imam Ali (AS) is teaching us how to fight Satan as if there is a battlefield and the enemy is ready to attack from nearby positions.
Ali ibn al-Hossain (Imam Sajjad) (AS) was asked: “How did you begin your day, O son of the Messenger of Allah?” The Imam said: “I began the day while I was indebted for eight things; Allah Almighty asks me for obligations, the Holy Prophet (SAW) asks me for the Sunnah, the family asks me for nourishment, the self asks me for pleasures, Satan asks me for disobedience, the two guardian angels asks me for true deeds, the angel of death asks me for the soul (life), the grave asks me for the body, so I am indebted for all these things.”
There are many traditions on Satan the mentioning of which requires a separate book. I have gathered all those tradition under the title of “Man and Satan”.
What is Satan, who has been reproached so much? What kind of enemy is he whom God has warned man against to this extent? Who is this parasite of corruption whom even the prophets and the friends of God fear? What a dangerous thief and warrior enemy is he that the adhering to him causes all misfortunes of this life and the enmity to him brings happiness and prosperity?
Satan is the implacable enemy, the faithless friend of human beings, the ungrateful creature of God, and the rebellious servant of God Almighty. Satan is an experienced enemy who is cunning, deceitful and wicked with a great number of hosts, who lived among angels and spent his life with them. He learnt servitude from angels and reached a position which was envied by them. He was considered as the chief of angels.
It was later that God created man and ordered the angels to prostrate before him. All the angels did so except Satan who refused to do. Therefore, he was disfavored by God, and from that moment, he tried to tempt the weak human beings. He entered paradise, deceived Adam and Eve by swearing that he wished to promote them to a sublime station, but he made them wretched!
Following this success, he was an accomplice in the murder of Abel by Cain. Then, he challenged the prophets, though he failed to win the battles. He was persistent in his fighting against nations.
In the time of our Holy Prophet (SAW), Satan took part in the battle of Badr. In Dar al-Nadwah, he was a member of the advisory council. In Saqeefah, he was the first one who pledged allegiance to the first Caliph, so much so that he divided Muslims into seventy-three sects. Not only did he create division in Islam, but he made people worship him in a way that until now there are people who are Satan worshippers.
Satan interferes in all human affairs. He tries to make people’s belief shaky. He attempts to deviate man from the right path. He even goes further that he takes part in the formation of human foetus. He tempts man to adhere to him. He makes women as trap for men to commit sin, as seen in the states of some worshippers. He raises his banner in the markets everyday. He deceives people, even scholars, in different ways. He does not leave people in ease even at the point of death.
The late Hajji Molla Hashim has related: “A pious scholar from the city of Najaf became sick. As he was about to die, he was asked to recite the shahada by the one who had come to visit him, but he refused to recite it, arguing that: ‘this is the first subject of theology and it has to be proved!’ People were quite surprised to hear this from a scholar. Fortunately, God healed him. Later on when the story was told to him, he said: ‘When you persuaded me to recite the shahada, a man with white beard was standing near me, saying: ‘If you recite the shahada, I will set this promissory note on fire.’ I had lent an amount of five Tomans to some one and I had put the note in a coffer!’
After recovering, the man tore the note into pieces, so that he would not be preoccupied with it. Satan attempts not only to undermine our prayer, but also to nullify our worship. When he fails to do so through hypocrisy, he will carry out his plots by making man forget to perform his prayer.
Satan attempts to cause troubles and quarrels in families, create discord between teachers and students in schools, create division among the ranks of army, between the rulers and the ruled, among nations, and between upper classes and lower classes to make them join his party.
May God save us from the temptations of Satan and make us victorious in the battle against him. We humbly ask the Lord of the universe to make us among the pious and wake us up from slumber.
Amen, O Lord of the worlds and peace be on whoever follows the guidance.
- 1. Qur'an, 2:152.
- 2. Qur'an, 33:41.
- 3. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 90, p. 155.
- 4. Qur'an, 63:9.
- 5. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 90, p. 150.
- 6. Ibid.
- 7. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 90, p. 154.
- 8. Safeenat al-Bihar, vol. 1, p. 673.
- 9. Bihar al-Anwar,vol. 90, p. 154.
- 10. Ibid., p. 155.
- 11. Ibid., p. 163.
- 12. Ibid.
- 13. Qur'an, 3:191.
- 14. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 90, p. 161.
- 15. Ibid.
- 16. Qur'an, 7:205.
- 17. Qur'an, 10:6-8.
- 18. Qur'an, 10:92.
- 19. Bihar al-Anwar vol. 70, p. 157.
- 20. Safeenat al-Bihar, vol. 2, p. 323.
- 21. Ibid.
- 22. Ibid.
- 23. Ibid.
- 24. Safeenat al-Bihar, vol. 1, p. 100.
- 25. Safeenat al-Bihar, vol. 1, p. 99.
- 26. Hammam Sermon.
- 27. Qur'an, 61:2-3.
- 28. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 66, p. 64.
- 29. Ibid., p. 65.
- 30. Ibid., p. 67.
- 31. Ibid.
- 32. Nahj al-Balaghah, Sermon 42.
- 33. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 70, p. 164.
- 34. Ibid., p. 166.
- 35. Kashkool, vol. 1, p. 14.
- 36. Ibid., p. 35.
- 37. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 70, p. 175.
- 38. Al-Jawahir al-Adadiyyah.
- 39. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 70, p. 178.
- 40. Ibid.
- 41. Wasa’il al-Shiah, vol. 16, p. 498.
- 42. Ibid., p. 497.
- 43. Wasa’il al-Shiah, vol. 16, p. 497.
- 44. Qur'an, 3:134.
- 45. Minhaj al-Bara’ah, vol. 6, p. 17.
- 46. Wasa’il al-Shiah, vol. 11, p. 289.
- 47. Minhaj al-Bara’ah, vol. 6, p. 18.
- 48. Hammam Sermon.
- 49. Noor al-Thaqalain vol.2, p. 111.
- 50. Qur'an, 7:199.
- 51. Noor al-Thaqalain ,vol.2, p. 111.
- 52. Ithna Ashariyyah, p. 315.
- 53. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 68, p. 420.
- 54. Wasa’il al-Shiah, vol. 11, p. 327.
- 55. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 68, p. 277.
- 56. Ibid.
- 57. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 68, p. 274
- 58. Qur'an, 20:44.
- 59. Qur'an, 3:159.
- 60. Al-Kafi, vol. 3, p. 326.
- 61. Hammam Sermon.
- 62. Safeenat al-Bihar, vol. 1, p. 35.
- 63. Ibid., p. 37.
- 64. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 14, p. 144.
- 65. Ibid., vol. 68, p. 397.
- 66. Ibid, p. 337.
- 67. Sharh Ibn Abi Al-Hadeed, vol. 10, p. 159.
- 68. Qur'an, 2:155-157.
- 69. Majma’ al-Bayan, vol. 1, p. 238.
- 70. Ibid.
- 71. Qur'an, 39:10.
- 72. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 68, p. 73.
- 73. Ibid., p. 80.
- 74. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 68, p. 33.
- 75. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 68, p. 359.
- 76. Ibid.
- 77. Hammam Sermon.
- 78. Qur'an,33:72.
- 79. Qur'an, 23:9.
- 80. Qur'an, 23:8.
- 81. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 72, p. 114.
- 82. Ibid.
- 83. Ibid.
- 84. Ibid.
- 85. Qur'an, 6: 44.
- 86. Qur'an, 7:165.
- 87. Qur'an, 49:11.
- 88. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 72, p. 144.
- 89. Wasa’il al-Shiah, vol. 8, p. 448.
- 90. Ibid., p. 487.
- 91. Wasa’il al-Shiah, vol. 8, p. 488.
- 92. Zeenat al-Majalis.
- 93. Minhaj al-Bara’ah, vol. 6, p. 20.
- 94. Ibid., p. 21.
- 95. Minhaj al-Bara’ah, vol. 6, p. 21.
- 96. Qur'an, 89:14.
- 97. Qur'an, 14:42.
- 98. Safeenat al-Bihar, vol. 2, p. 105.
- 99. Ibid.
- 100. Ibid.
- 101. Ibid.
- 102. Safeenat al-Bihar, vol. 2, p. 109.
- 103. Hammam Sermon.
- 104. Safeenat al-Bihar, vol. 2, p. 186.
- 105. Ibid.
- 106. Ibid., p. 185.
- 107. Qur'an, 48:29.
- 108. Qur'an, 2:14.
- 109. Safeenat al-Bihar, vol. 1, p. 35.
- 110. Hammam Sermon.
- 111. Qur'an, 8:2.
- 112. Abwab al-Jinan, vol. 1, p. 4.
- 113. Ibid.
- 114. Ibid., p. 7.
- 115. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 2, p. 58.
- 116. Qur'an, 61:2-3.
- 117. Abwab al-Jinan, vol. 7.
- 118. Qur'an, 10:49.
- 119. Qur'an, 55:26-27.
- 120. Qur'an, 36:60-62.
- 121. Qur'an, 2:168-169.
- 122. Qur'an, 4:118-121.
- 123. Qur'an, 5:91.
- 124. Qur'an, 7:15.
- 125. Qur'an, 7:16-17.
- 126. Qur'an, 7:27.
- 127. Qur'an, 38:82-83.
- 128. Qur'an, 38:84-85.
- 129. Qur'an, 50:18.
- 130. Safeenat al-Bihar, vol. 1, p. 98.
- 131. Qur'an, 15:39.